Press contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

October 5, 2005

Historian John Hope Franklin to Discuss His New Autobiography on Nov. 1

Distinguished historian John Hope Franklin, 90, will discuss his new autobiography, "Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin" at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

A book signing will follow the presentation, which is co-sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book and John W. Kluge Center. The program is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

Franklin, who helped redirect the social and political course of the United States throughout the 20th century, is the author and editor of 17 books, including the best-selling "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans." Much of Franklin’s research for "Mirror to America" was done while he was a Distinguished Senior Visiting Scholar at the Kluge Center in 2001.

Franklin graduated from Fisk University in 1935 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941. After teaching at several institutions, including Howard University, in 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as chairman of the Department of History, the first such appointment of an African American in the country. In 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. He completed his academic career at Duke University as the James B. Duke Professor of History and for seven years served as a professor of legal history.

In 1953, Franklin helped Thurgood Marshall and the Legal Defense Fund successfully reargue Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine and required the desegregation of schools across America. For interventions regarding American racism, for his academic achievements and for numerous acts of public service, Franklin has received many honors, including the Jefferson Medal (1984), the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities (1993); and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995. He has received honorary degrees from more than 130 colleges and universities.

Through the years, Franklin served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities and the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Most recently, in 1997 President Clinton appointed Professor Franklin as chair of the President’s Initiative on Race, which sought to improve the national dialogue on race.

Franklin has been the subject of one documentary, "First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin," and co-hosted another with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "Tutu and Franklin: A Journey Towards Peace."

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000. The center brings leading scholars together with key Washington policymakers to discuss important world issues, drawing on the Library’s incomparable national and international collections. For information about the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, visit its Web site: www.loc.gov/kluge.

Established in 1977 as a public-private partnership, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading and libraries. For information about its events and activities, visit its Web site: www.loc.gov/cfbook.

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PR 05-215
10/05/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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